Stockholm: Swedish parliament on Wednesday elected Social Democratic party leader and current Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first woman prime minister, succeeding the outgoing Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
Andersson clinched a last-minute deal securing key support, as a total of 117 members of parliament voted for her, while 57 abstained, 174 voted against and one was absent. Under Swedish system, a prime ministerial candidate does not necessarily need the support of majority in the Parliament, they just should not have the majority or more than 175 votes opposing them.
The 54-year-old leader, who took over as head of the Social Democrats earlier this month, reached a deal with the Left Party late on Tuesday to raise pensions in exchange for its backing in Wednesday’s vote. She had previously received the support of the Social Democrats’ coalition partner the Greens, as well as the Centre Party. Andersson will formally take over her functions and present her government on Friday.
However she had to face a setback from the Centre Party before the election. The Centre Party declared that while it would not oppose Andersson in the vote for PM, but it would withdraw its support for the government’s budget to be voted on later Wednesday, due to the concessions made to the Left. That means Andersson will in all likelihood have to govern with a budget presented by the opposition conservative Moderates, Christian Democrats and far-right Sweden Democrats.
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Stefan Lofven resigned on November 10 after seven years as prime minister in a widely expected move aimed at giving his successor time to prepare for the country’s September 2022 general election.